Fascinating article on The Oil Drum by Jeroen Haringman on Siemens' attempt at introducing an electric freight transport system that allows trucks to maintain their diesel engine but take advantage of running on electricity using a pantograph underneath a catenary system.
To circumvent the limitations of batteries, Siemens is experimenting with a possible solution - a cross breed between a freight tram and an electric lorry. They developed a hybrid lorry under the name 'eHighway' which can be powered by both its diesel engine and electricity. In this case, the electricity isn't stored in on-board batteries but comes from an overhead wire, using a modern form of the system used by a trolleybus -- which makes this a trolleytruck.
Constructing the infrastructure for this won't be cheap, but probably cheaper than constructing a rail network or batteries for a whole fleet of lorries. This system also offers flexibility; if a lorry has to leave the electrified route for whatever reason - an obstacle on the road, a sudden change in destination of the freight -- it can be done on diesel. Once the infrastructure is there, it's a small step to construct a number of modern trolleybuses using the same system.
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